Rates for home loans have spent the past decade or so doing anything but what’s expected of them. Every year, it seems, the general consensus is that in the coming months, financial conditions will finally get back to “normal,” taking mortgage rates with them. And every year something has brought that “normalization” to a screeching halt.
In 2015, for example, shock-and-awe bond-buying by the European Central Bank helped push bond yields into negative territory in Europe and behind. In early 2016, markets were rocked so badly by concerns about earnings that there were fears of another recession – and then rocked again by the upset Brexit vote.
Mortgage rates in 2018 may be the closest thing to “normal” we’ve seen in a long time. With two more weeks in the year as of this publication, we’re likely to see a full-year average of 4.54% for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. That will be the highest since 2010.
And for 2019? Given all the variables in both financial markets and housing, forecasting mortgage rates is for the “intrepid,” in the words of Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, and a long-time housing watcher. And those are just the known unknowns. Who can guess the curveballs lying in wait in financial markets, earnings, economic data, housing markets, and beyond?
With that in mind, here are some thoughts from a few of those “intrepid” souls.
|Name||Institution||Forecast, full-year average, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage|
|Sam Khater||Freddie Mac||5.1%|
|Mark Zandi||Moody’s Analytics||5.0%|
|Sam Bullard||Wells Fargo Economics Group||4.9%|
|Rick Sharga||Carrington Mortgage||5.25%|
|Mike Fratantoni||Mortgage Bankers Association||5.1%|
|Doug Duncan||Fannie Mae||4.8%|